Bill White on Don Drysdale: “he threw spitballs”

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Bill White, former Cardinals first baseman, broadcaster and former President of the National League, has a new autobiography coming out called “Uppity: My Untold Story About The Games People Play.”  He sat for an interview with the Cardinals blog Retro Simba. It’s a neat interview, with additional parts to come. My favorite Q&A in the first segment:

Q: In May 1960, you set a career high with 6 RBI in a game at the L.A. Coliseum, hitting two home runs, both off Don Drysdale. Your career batting average against Drysdale was .326 with seven home runs. Why were you so successful against him?

Bill White: Because he threw spitballs. It actually was oil he kept on the back of his hair. And when you loaded the ball up, it sunk. And I was a low-ball hitter. He was throwing to my strength.

That Drysdale threw a spitter is not new information — I’ve read it a bunch of places before — but it’s fun to hear that kind of stuff anyway. Oh, and remember when Drysdale showed up at Greg Brady’s house and told him he could be a bonus baby? And how Greg let it go to his head and even considers dropping out of school? Yeah, that whole thing could have worked if Drysdale showed Greg the secrets of the spitball.

Anyway, while that may be my favorite answer, White’s comments about segregation in the Cardinals’ spring training home of the early 60s and in St. Louis is more significant reading. Check it out.

(via BTF)

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.